Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Voices

I give different voices to the characters in some of the books I read to my kids. Not all of them, but some. I don't what it is about a particular book that inspires me to do it, but I am compelled each time I read them aloud to add this performance element. Though I possess a few talents, the ability to create cartoon quality voices escapes me. Most of them end up sounding a lot like Marvin Martian/Kermit the Frog mutations.

I started doing the voices for the Bean though I am not sure if he didn't notice or just didn't care because he never said anything about them. Maybe he just accepted that this is what some grow ups do when they read books. Sprout, on the other hand, has become enchanted with them–well two of them, at least.

Piggy (a pig) has a nasally whine. Gerald (elephant) has a dumb sounding voice kind of like Petey Puma when he's asking for a whole lotta lumps. They are the stars of a series of books by the immortal Mo Willems. The Bean went through big phase with these books that burned hot and fast. They soon collected dust on his shelf–until the girl found them. I've been reading them to her for a few weeks now in the exact same way that I read them to her brother, with these goofy voices. Each performance is fairly consistent, the cadence and inflection of the characters were cemented in years ago. Surprisingly, Sprout not only noticed the voices she soon asked me to sing her goodnight song in Piggie's voice.

The singing requests came through for the next few nights and it wasn't long before Gerald joined the act, helping Piggie sing Mary Had a Little Lamb. Without a book to follow, the act varied a bit from night to night. Sprout was enthralled. Next Sprout discovered the Bean's old Gerald and Piggie dolls and they were added to the song. Sprout now squeals with delight when her nighttime routine turns into a puppet show.

And I must admit that I am very much enjoying performing nightly for an audience of one.


Vancetastic said...

I agree. There are certain books where I do voices, and certain ones where I don't. There's this one called Two Little Chicks where two little chicks go to the playground and have to confront their fear of going down the slide. It involves a bunch of other young animals, and I try to give each one a different voice. However, then it worries me that I'm not using the same voice as last time, or that some voices are too similar to other voices. (The voices of a mouse and the voice of the chicks are very close.) The standards we set for ourselves ...

Daddy Geek Boy said...

In the words of Wemberly's parents, "you worry too much."